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Siting Considerations for Utility Scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems. Tim Green, Brookhaven National Laboratory NE FWS Biologists Conference February 16, 2011. On the Agenda. Introduction to Solar Siting considerations Industry view Ecosystem view Long Island Solar Farm.

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siting considerations for utility scale photovoltaic power generation systems

Siting Considerations for Utility Scale Photovoltaic Power Generation Systems.

Tim Green, Brookhaven National Laboratory

NE FWS Biologists Conference

February 16, 2011

on the agenda
On the Agenda
  • Introduction to Solar
  • Siting considerations
    • Industry view
    • Ecosystem view
  • Long Island Solar Farm
why worry about solar development
Why worry about Solar Development?
  • EO 13514 – Sec. 2 Goals for Agencies (a)(ii) increasing agency use of renewable energy and implementing renewable generation projects on agency property;
  • One of the fastest growing energy sectors in the country
  • Requires a lot of land, 5-10 acres/MW
  • Much of NE is either built up, in farmland, or forest.
  • NE is a good location for Solar PV
photovoltaics in the northeast completed projects
Photovoltaics in the NortheastCompleted Projects

http://www.solarelectricpower.org/solar-tools/solar-data-and-mapping-tool.aspx

photovoltaics in the northeast planned projects
Photovoltaics in the NortheastPlanned Projects

http://www.solarelectricpower.org/solar-tools/solar-data-and-mapping-tool.aspx

utility scale photovoltaic systems siting
Utility Scale Photovoltaic Systems Siting
  • Siting Considerations – all projects
    • Proximity to Grid – shortest distance to grid tie point preferred
    • Land costs – requires 6-10 acres/MW (One large block of land preferred).
    • Clearing – minimize
    • Construction – want clear ground, must fence facility
    • Operations – minimize maintenance efforts (cleaning, mowing, repair)
utility scale photovoltaic systems siting1
Utility Scale Photovoltaic Systems Siting
  • Siting – Ecological Concerns (Our Concerns)
    • Proximity to Grid
    • Clearing
      • Finding suitable cleared land (brownfields, farms, etc.)
      • Minimize forest clearing
      • Contiguous properties preferred (one large block better than many small blocks?)
    • Avoid Wetlands
    • Avoid Endangered Species
    • Avoid Migratory Birds or alter habitat
    • Site preparation
    • Fencing
    • Vegetation
long island solar farm
Long Island Solar Farm
  • The Project
  • Siting
  • Solar Arrays
  • Designing in Sustainability and Ecological Benefits
  • Ecological Research
  • End of Life Considerations
long island solar farm1
Long Island Solar Farm
  • Size: ~32MW (AC)
  • Location: Brookhaven National Laboratory
  • Technology: Crystalline solar photovoltaic modules
  • Land use: ~200 acres
  • Construction schedule: Fall 2010 – Fall 2011
  • Project is one of 147 demonstration sites chosen for the Sustainable Sites Initiative – see http://www.sustainablesites.org/pilot/
site considerations bnl
Site Considerations - BNL
  • Proximity to electric substation – grid tie point
  • Limit impacts to site operations and future science
  • Scientific study of array and PV technologies
  • Improve the environment; reducing carbon footprint
  • Strengthen the local economy
  • Encourage economic development
  • Transform the solar photovoltaic marketplace
sustainability
Sustainability
  • Forest Removal – reduction of carbon sequestration ability ~12,000 Metric tons over 20 years.
  • Carbon Avoidance - ~619,000 metric tons over 20 years.
  • Understory retained – will continue to sequester carbon and add to soil. (This isn’t happening as planned)
  • Minimal impact to soils
  • Little or no water usage
  • Commitments for recycling and pollution prevention
  • Habitat Improvements (This may take longer)
  • Vegetation Management – IPM for invasives
reducing potential impacts
Reducing Potential Impacts
  • Requires minimal grading resulting in less disturbance of understory vegetation (grasses will be planted)
  • Tree removal – timing and process
  • Wildlife friendly fencing
  • Native vegetation planted or left under arrays
  • Invasive species management - removal
positive ecological impacts
Positive Ecological Impacts
  • 200 acres of deer free area
  • Removal of invasive plants protects surrounding area
  • Maintenance of native vegetation – wide variability in make-up and density (Because grasses are being planted everything below may take longer to achieve.)
    • Improved habitat for migratory birds
    • Improved habitat for small mammals
    • Improved habitat for reptiles and amphibians
    • Improved habitat for insects?
ecological research
Ecological Research
  • Impacts to vegetation make up and health
    • Shading effects
    • Precipitation effects
    • Heat island effects
  • Impacts to soils (concentration of acid rain, mercury deposition)
  • Impacts of fencing on wildlife populations
  • Impacts of arrays on bird populations
  • Impacts to surrounding ecosystem
precipitation

Rain Shadow

Rain Shadow

Precipitation Concentrates

Precipitation
slide25

Heat Island?

~164,300 panels

decommissioning restoration
Decommissioning & Restoration
  • Array life estimated at 40 yrs., energy contract set for 20 yrs.
    • End of life – likely would result in newer technology being deployed for energy production.
    • Decommissioning – would require removal and disposal of all arrays, inverters, transformers, and fencing
    • Restoration – a restoration plan would be required prior to decommissioning
      • Natural restoration since understory would be present
      • Tree planting within understory
      • Invasive species management
current status
Current Status
  • 70% cleared
  • 5 of 25 inverters set.
  • 10% of pilings installed
  • 2% of panels installed.